Splash the Color – It’s all downhill from here

Today’s DS106 assignment, entitled “Splash The Color“, was submitted by Alan Levine (aka CogDog). He states:

“Color splash is a technique to emphasize details – you remove all color from a photo, and then restore original color to a single object.”

Bird's Hill Bike Path - Color Splash

I began the task with the help of Annie Belle’s excellent video tutorial. Although she provided two different techniques to create her color splash, I soon learned that the tools that she described in her “Photoshop CS4” corresponded in no way to the limited number of tools I had in “Photoshop Elements 6”. However, learning is all about discovery… so I forged on.

First, I selected a color photo that I had taken on a new bicycle path in Bird’s Hill Park. I thought that the yellow colored signs would be easy to crop and work around.

My process involved the following steps, which I repeated each time I selected a new color area to reduce to black & white:

  • Use the “Polygonal Lasso Tool” to select a new portion of the colored photo
  • Use menu items: Enhance > Adjust Color > Remove Color

Once all the color (except for the yellow on the signs) was removed, my “splash” image was saved and uploaded to my DS106 set in Flickr for sharing. Although the “tweaked” photo is shown above, those who wish to compare it with the original, should visit my DS106 creations in Flickr which are referenced at the bottom of this post.

The Teachable Moments:

  1. As a “newbie” to Photoshop Elements, I found it very difficult to find the starting point of my polygon when using the “Polygonal Lasso Tool”. After selecting a polygon area, I would click repeatedly in the vicinity of my starting point hoping to hit the exact initial pixel from which my polygon boundary was formed. What a hassle! Thankfully an “unknown hero”, in a forum, recommended that one simply double-click when one was close to the starting point and a line would automatically join the present location to the starting point. Thank you Google!
  2. Although I believe I created a colour splash, in hindsight, I am not certain that I did it correctly. I know that Annie Belle demonstrated how she could change the color saturation of the door that she had selected. I know that I have no control over the yellow intensity in my signs as the colour shown in my photos is only the original.

Knowing that I may have faked my way through this first “Visual Assignment”, I know that there are many creative DS106 users who are much more experienced with Photoshop Elements 6. I trust that they will provide constructive feedback through the Comments area.

Take care & keep smiling ๐Ÿ™‚

Brian Metcalfeโ€™s DS106 โ€œphotostreamโ€

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11 Responses to Splash the Color – It’s all downhill from here

  1. Alan Levine says:

    This is a beautiful image, Brian. I don’t know if elements has the history brush tool; this is the easiest way to restore colors in CS5.

    If I follow what you did, you did a selection for the parts you wanted to keep colored, then inverted the selection to choose everything else, convert that to black and white. If you inverted the selection back, you could do color adjustments on the sign again.

    And also, I see this sign and think of great bike rides where everything feels downhill.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Alan … Thanks for creating the “Color Splash” DS106 assignment and providing insight through your comment. I checked my “Photoshop Elements 6” and found that it does not have a “history brush tool”. However, a colleague in my PLN will probably provide an alternate tool solution.

    Wow … You supplied a strategy that I had not even considered! You suggested that I might select the two yellow diamond-shaped signs and then invert the remainder of the picture to black & white. Why didn’t I think of that? In fact, in comparison, I spent a great deal of time repeatedly cutting out several polygons (around the signs) and removing the color from each selected area. In hindsight, I didn’t know (at the time) how to select two different objects (two signs) at once and then choose/invert the remaining area to extract the color.

    Thanks to your insightful comment, I just experimented with a picture using “Photoshop Elements 6”. I used the “Polygonal Lasso Tool” and described a polygon. Next I tried an “old DOS trick” and held down the key. Amazingly, I was allowed to create a second polygon (or more if needed). I share this “discovery” with other readers who may like this “shifty” idea.

    I’m glad that you, too, enjoy cycling … because I never thought of you as “out-spokin'”. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Take care & keep smiling ๐Ÿ™‚ Brian

  3. Jim says:

    This is brilliantly done, I love this one! And it showed up on the assignments page so I still have no idea why the yam post is lost. Still have to dig I guess ๐Ÿ™

  4. Phil Taylor says:

    Brian … Love watching you learn new tricks.

    Here is a screen cast of another method of removing colour from a photo with an adjustment layer, and using a selective restore with the eraser. Because you are essentially painting, you can be very precise by changing the size of the brush (eraser) when you are close to the edges.


    Keep smiling.


  5. admin says:

    Phil … You, sir, are amazing!!! The other night I made a comment after my “Color Splash” post that … “However, a colleague in my PLN will probably provide an alternate tool solution”. I was not expecting that you would necessarily be that “colleague”. In the DS106 course we have an “ABC” mantra – “Always Be Commenting”. I was trying to “prime the pump” suggesting to my other DS106 colleagues that they might volunteer to make a relevant comment, or other readers might like to help me in my Photoshop learning journey.

    I hope to demonstrate, as you know, that often readers learn more in the commenting dialogue than in the original blog post.

    Thank you so much for sharing this “paint brush” technique in a practical, personal instructional video! Although the actual steps will not work in Photoshop Elements 6 (PSE6), it gave me the general process and sufficient tips/vocabulary to search Google to find an actual video which describes a similar “paintbrush” technique for PSE6.

    Take care & keep smiling ๐Ÿ™‚ Brian

  6. admin says:

    Thanks Jim for the positive feedback. Be advised that I posted my creative “ReCaptcha” image and “back story” narrative to Alan Levine’s assignment in the “wee hours of the night”. It transferred to the main DS106 page with no problem and routed to the Assignment area, as intended, so we are “connected”!

    Thanks for all your continued support making DS106 an AWESOME learning and sharing experience!

    Take care & keep smiling ๐Ÿ™‚ Brian

  7. Jim says:


    It is I who should be thanking you, and while I haven’t solved the mystery of your Yam assignment yet I have a few clues, but more importantly the work you keep churning out is amazing. Your confusion TDC yesterday of “Confusion Corner” was brilliant.

  8. admin says:

    Jim … Thanks for your feedback and continued support. I can assure you that the Pembina Hwy / Osborne / Corydon / Donald interchange in our city, does cause many drivers a great deal of “confusion”.

    Take care & keep smiling ๐Ÿ™‚ Brian

  9. admin says:

    Phil … Your Jing screencast inspired me! Your instructional video in Photoshop CS was motivating and provided me with appropriate terminology to search for a corresponding video where the “colour splash” was demonstrated in Photoshop Elements.

    To help other readers (and document my own discovery), I am recommending Don Schechter’s “Video:Create a Black and White Effect in Adobe Photoshop“.

    I also appreciate your tip about purchasing an inexpensive yearly license from Jing to produce screencast videos (without the watermark overlay displayed on the free version). Undoubtedly, if I started sharing screencasts, I could reduce the amount of words I use in my traditional posts ๐Ÿ™‚ Everyone would win!

    Thanks again for your continued support.

    Take care & keep smiling ๐Ÿ™‚ Brian

  10. Phil says:

    You are most welcome Brian. Jing is a nice little tool for giving an overview of “how to” do somthing. If you create a lot of these tutorial videos, there are other more expensive options, but for light use … Jing works for me.



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